While this mountain can be seen from many places in the immediate area, it is not one that draws a lot of attention. From a distance, it looks like nothing more than a bump along the ridge that also contains Ptarmigan Point, Notchtop, & Gabletop Mountains, and is often "climbed" in conjunction with these other peaks. While these peaks are not overly difficult to climb on their own, when all done together, it makes for a nice day spent above the trees along a beautiful stretch of tundra along the divide!
This peak is easliy accessible from the Flattop Mountain Trail and lies along the Continental Divide to the North of Flattop Mountain, overlooking the Bighorn Flats. It has a great twin summit block, that is a fun scramble and a little tricky in snow and ice, and this summit provides for interesting views of many of the parks high peaks.
Round Trip: 12 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,856 feet
You will want to start your hike from Bear Lake, in Rocky Mountain National Park. The easiest way to get to Bear Lake, will be to enter the Park at the Beaver Meadows Entrance (hwy 36). Take your first left onto Bear Lake Road, and follow it until it dead ends (about 10 miles) at the Bear Lake Parking Lot. Follow the path about 1/4th of the way around the lake until you see the trail with sign directing you to Flattop Mountain. Follow that trail.
The only permit required is a pass to get into the National Park. You can buy a week pass for $15, or an annual pass for $30. If you plan on camping , you will need to contact the Backcountry Office at 970-586-1242. Fees for camping vary, depending on the season, and the number in your party. A parking pass will only be required when parking overnight. A pass is included in the price of you backcountry camping permit.
Fees for admission.
When To Climb
Knobtop Mountain can be climbed any time of the year. However, the Flattop Mountain Trail is basically snow free from June through September. So the Summer and early Fall are the easiest times to climb this mountain. It is just a little harder in the Winter, simply because it's more work using snowshoes. Crampons might come in handy for the last scramble to the summit, but uless they weighed literally nothing (as in 0.0 ounces) I would leave them behind. This summit is usually blown fee of snow anyhow.
Camping is allowed in the National Park. There are a few campsites in the area, some closer to Knobtop than others. There are no campsites on the Flattop Mountain Trail. Ask about campsites around Fern Lake and/or sites just West of the divide in the Tonohutu drainage, or the North Inlet drainage. Call 970-586-1242 to make reservations. Fees will vary depending on season and the number in your party. These will ALL be STOVES ONLY campsites.
Backcountry Camping Info.
More Info. and maps of designated Backcountry Sites.
Here is the form to request a backcountry permit:
Backcountry Campsite Request Form
To get the most accurate conditions on this mountain, it would be best to call Rocky Mountain National Park directly. 970-586-1206.